Business briefs: Weir | Crocodile and Applico | Thistle Pub Co | Rabbie’s

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WEIR Group chief executive Keith Cochrane saw his pay packet drop by 21 per cent last year despite the Glasgow-based engineering giant making a record profit.

Cochrane’s remuneration fell to £1.3 million in 2012 from £1.6m in 2011 after he was awarded 54 per cent of his potential bonus under stretching performance targets.

Figures released last month showed that underlying pre-tax profits at the FTSE 100 constitutent rose by 12 per cent in 2012 to a record £443m on the back of an 11 per cent increase in revenues to just over £2.5 billion.

• A pair of Edinburgh-based IT businesses are merging to form a venture which will take on four additional staff as it expands.

Mark Higgins of Crocodile Solutions and Bill Brotherstone of Applico are creating a business called Roxxap, to specialise in so-called enterprise resource planning systems.

The two firms are said to have built strong customer bases since they started in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Higgins and Brotherstone plan to employ three more developers and a project manager to add to an eight-strong merged team.

• A pub company that operates seven outlets across central Scotland has taken itself off the market after not receiving any takeover offers that were “sufficiently attractive”.

The Thistle Pubs Company III was set up in 2006 under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), which offered tax breaks to investors in return for backing smaller companies.

Thistle has built up an estate of pubs including The Steading in Edinburgh, The Clockwork Beer Company in Glasgow, The Dog House in Balloch, and The Wheel Inn in Scone. The pubs are managed by Maclay Inns.

• Tour company Rabbie’s has appointed its first managing director after unveiling a 40 per cent rise in turnover during 2012 to £4.9 millon.

Robin Worsnop, chairman and chief executive of the Edinburgh-based firm, has picked former sales manager Hazel Ricket to take over the day-to-day running of his business, while he pursues “strategic opportunities and partnerships to grow the business further over the next ten years”.

The firm’s unaudited pre-tax profits jumped by 25 per cent last year to £400,000.